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Of the importance of paper


I’m well aware that we’re supposed to be saving the planet one tree at a time. I recycle as much as I can and use the empty backsides of scraps of paper as shopping lists, among other things. And I think that one of the points for e-books is that they don’t use paper. (Although it’s more important for me personally that e-books don’t put a strain on my already overflowing bookshelves.)

This said, when it comes to writing, I couldn’t live without paper. I write early drafts on notebooks where I make notes about my characters too for easy reference; I tried word documents for the latter, but it just didn’t work for me. I use sticky notes for the little details. And when it comes to editing, paper prints are invaluable.

When it’s time to go through a manuscript in its entirety, I need paper prints. I can check misspelled words on the computer screen too, although I always miss some, but I can fit only so many pages on the screen at once to assess the whole. When I’m holding the concrete text in my hand, I can see what works and what doesn’t so much better. If reshuffling of chapters is needed, I can move them around without losing the bigger picture. And I can make notes directly on the prints and rewrite entire chapters on them as well, before returning to my computer.

I try to be economical and ecological though. I can fit four pages on one sheet and still be able to read it. And once I’m done, I can always use the empty backsides of the prints for something else.

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